Just as you can use screens, you can use plants for balcony privacy. But what truly elevates these privacy plants (sometimes literally) are planters. So in this post, we will discuss balcony planters for privacy, how to pick them, and how to layer them to create a private oasis in your urban outdoor space.
Treat this post as a companion piece to Tiny’s other posts on balcony privacy including:
- 12 Life-Changing Balcony Privacy Ideas
- Best Balcony Privacy Plants: 12 Beautiful Ideas to Create a Private Oasis
Alright, without further ado let’s dive into the topic of planter boxes and how to create privacy in outdoor spaces.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Balcony Planters for Privacy
When choosing balcony planters for privacy, there are a few factors to consider. These include the size of the planter, the material it’s made of, its drainage system, and the climate it will be sitting in.
So let’s look at each one of these.
When I was just starting out my journey with plants, I fell for this common misconception that the size of the planter doesn’t matter. Or rather if the planter fits it fits, whether it’s 1 inch or 3 inches bigger than the root ball.
And, of course, some of my plants paid the price for it.
Overpotting, the practice of giving a plant a much larger pot than it needs, is not inherently bad. But it can lead to one of the most common causes of plants’ demise — root rot.
In too big of a pot, the water takes too long to evaporate, sitting like a soggy ring around the root ball. This can lead to leaves falling, wilting, yellowing, and browning, often making new plant parents mistakenly water the plant even more.
So what is this long lecture on overpotting leading up to?
To avoid overpotting, pick a planter that is only 1-2” larger than the root ball. Some sources might say that you are supposed to measure it against the previous pot instead of the root ball, however, some plants come from the nursery planted in much bigger pots than they need to (this is how I almost lost my ‘Pink Princess’ philodendron).
TL;DR: plant your plant in a pot that is only 1-2” bigger than the root ball. If you notice signs of overwatering (yellowing, browning, wilting, falling leaves), transfer the plant to a smaller pot or water only when the potting soil is dry.
Balcony planters come in a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, metal, and ceramic. And, as with everything, each material has its pros and cons.
Plastic planters are lightweight and affordable. This material is the best choice for hanging planters as it is least likely to get damaged by a strong wind. However, plastic may not be as durable as other materials.
Wood planters are stylish and durable. This material makes frequent appearances in various DIY planter tutorials for handy folks who have a spare pallet lying around. But wood can be heavy and require proper maintenance to prevent it from rotting due to its frequent contact with water.
Metal planters are sturdy and stylish, but can be more expensive. And, depending on the sun exposure they will get on your balcony, patio, or deck, metal planters can actually cause something called “root burn.” You can read up on it more here.
Ceramic planters look beautiful in any outdoor area, especially when layered properly (we’ll touch on that later). In general, these are the best choice for standing plants. However, if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions ceramic planters may not be as durable as you would like.
To sum up, use plastic containers for hanging plants, and ceramic ones for standing or climbing plants. Metallic and wooden planters are best used as decorative pots for elevating plants to the desired height for privacy, however, beware that the former don’t overheat, and make sure to protect the latter from water damage.
Proper drainage is crucial for the health of your plants.
Make sure the planter your plant sits in has drainage holes or a drainage system to prevent water from pooling in the bottom of the planter and causing root rot.
Another crucial factor to consider is the amount of wind your balcony is exposed to. Strong winds can easily knock over lightweight planters, causing damage to both the plants and the planter.
Choosing a heavier planter is a good way to ensure it stays put during high winds. Terra cotta, concrete, or stone planters are heavy and durable, and they can withstand strong winds without tipping over.
A planter with a wider base or a low center of gravity can also stay more stable in windy conditions. Taller, narrow planters with a small base are more prone to tipping over in strong winds.
Coconut Fiber Liners
Hanging plants are great at creating a flowing living privacy screen on a balcony or patio. And while looking for appropriate hanging planters you might stumble upon this type of planters.
These are made of a wrought iron mesh lined with coconut fiber. One of the main advantages of coconut fiber liners is their ability to retain water and release it slowly, allowing plant roots to better absorb it. These liners also promote good aeration and drainage, preventing excess water from accumulating and causing root rot.
There are a few downsides to them, like too much water dripping out of them, but you can easily take advantage of it by placing other plants underneath these planters.
Also, prepare for the possibility that birds might pluck the coir out of the planter — it makes for excellent nest-building material.
Horizontal vs. Vertical Balcony Privacy
Since I’ve written a whole post on plants for balcony privacy, it is safe to say there are a variety of plants (and planters) you can use to create a private oasis on your balcony, patio, or deck.
But first, it’s important to consider the type of privacy you want.
Horizontal privacy can be normally achieved by using a balcony railing screen. However, for a more natural look, you’ll need to invest in plants and planters of various sizes and layer them alongside each other. This makeshift garden will create a green lush screen that will help block the view of your balcony seating area from the ground and side.
Vertical privacy, on the other hand, extends upwards from the balcony railing and is something you would normally use curtains or a full-height privacy screen for.
However, there are a variety of planters and plants you can use to achieve this type of privacy as well. For example, you can choose tall decorative pots that will elevate your plants and create a living wall that will hide you from view.
Other ideas include having planter boxes with trellises for climbing plants, such as jasmine or clematis (again, head on here for a list of the best privacy plants) that will grow upwards and create a natural privacy screen.
12 Best Balcony Planters for Privacy
Alright, alright, enough chit-chat. Let’s take a look at the best planter boxes for creating privacy on a balcony and other outdoor small spaces.
Outdoor privacy planters for climbing plants
Privacy planter box with a trellis
“Climbers” like ivy or jasmine are great examples of a living breathing privacy screen. All you need to do is provide them with a trellis, and that is exactly what this privacy planter box does.
Treated to withstand extreme weather conditions, cracking and deforming, this planter box will fit right in on a balcony, patio, or porch while creating a living, 53.7” tall privacy fence.
Dimensions: 29.5” (L) x 17.0” (W) x 67.0” (H); internal box dimensions: 27.2” (L) x 13.2” (W) x 8.3” (H).
Portable patio planter box with trellis
Quite similar to the previous one, this outdoor planter not only features a trellis but a set of wheels as well. On a small balcony, portability is everything and this planter makes it easy for you to move it around without breaking your back or dismantling the whole structure.
It has also been treated to resist water and UV damage and it boasts a maximum bearing capacity of 110 LBS — all to ensure that it serves you for a very long time. You can use the trellis to either grow your own “climber” or display several hanging plants that will protect your privacy with their thick foliage.
Dimensions: 29.5” (L) x 13.0” (W) x 61.4” (H).
Material: Fir wood.
Folding privacy planter trellis
This shape might be familiar to you as this trellis is modeled after the classic privacy screens we’ve featured in this post on room privacy. And while other trellis need to be weighed down, this one doesn’t thanks to the two planter boxes on each side of it.
You can position it however you want and even unfold it fully to increase the coverage area of the privacy screen. And you can paint it too!
Dimensions: 65” (H ) x 62.25” (W) x 19.75” (D).
Material: Fir wood.
Minimalist garden pot trellis
This easy-assembly trellis is meant to go inside a planter box to support a “climber” or a flowering shrub such as camellia or rose. The black frame consists of four parts that can be easily disassembled for storage or shortened to fit your plant.
While by itself it won’t act much as a privacy screen, it can help support your privacy plants and encourage bustling growth. And the little birdie on top is one of the cutest finishing touches.
Dimensions: 70.87” (H ) x 11.81” (W) x 11.81” (L)
Material: PE plastic & metal.
Outdoor privacy planters for tall plants
Tall patio planter boxes set
If you’re looking for vertical privacy you’ll need two things: a high-growing plant and a tall planter box.
For the first part of the equation head on over to this post, and for the latter — take a look at these privacy planters. This set is sleek, modern, sun- and frost-resistant, and lightweight. Each planter is capable of significantly elevating your plants off the ground while still ensuring stability and proper drainage.
Dimensions: 24” (H) x 11.5″ (W) (available in larger and smaller sizes)
Narrow metallic decorative pot
This decorative pot has an inner shelf that allows you to line your plants to create a living privacy screen. It’s a great fit for both a balcony and a patio that helps not only protect it from the outside view but also to add more structure to it.
And while we mentioned how metallic planters can harm the plant’s roots, you can either place this pot in a spot that doesn’t get too much direct light or go for plants that really don’t mind high temperatures (like the snake plant you can see in the photo).
Dimensions: 38” (L) x 10” (W) x 30” (H)
Terracotta planter pots
Whether painted or plain, whether on a balcony or in a yard, terracotta planters always work. They elevate the beauty of any plant, are relatively affordable especially when bought in bulk, and when it comes to privacy, can give a regular privacy screen a run for its money.
Layer terracotta pots of various heights to create horizontal privacy and an exceptional balcony garden. The only thing to note is that the soil in terracotta pots dries out quicker than in plastic ones, so take that into account when figuring out your watering schedule.
Dimensions: Come in a variety of sizes.
Balcony railing planters
A list of balcony privacy planters would not be complete without planter boxes that go on the railing. Combining them with even a medium-height plant (like lavender) can create a beautiful privacy screen.
A balcony, a deck, or anything that has some sort of railing can be outfitted with these to frame and protect your outdoor space from prying eyes.
Dimensions: 9″ (D) x 24″ (W) x 6″ (H)
Drainage: Yes (removable drainage plugs).
Privacy planters for hanging plants
Hanging 2-tiered planter
If you’re looking for vertical privacy and have an eye on some beautiful flowing plants, these planters are for you.
This strong, durable, two-tiered set combined with overflowing greenery of, say, ferns or ivy geranium, creates the perfect cover away from your neighbors.
Dimensions: Large pot: 9.5” (H) x 9.5” (W) x 6” (D); small pot: 8.25” (H) x 8.25” (W) x 5” (D)
Material: Plastic & metal.
Coconut fiber-lined planters
We’ve talked about these before and coconut fiber-lined planters are a great option for those prone to overwatering. They also look more natural and will give your living balcony privacy screen a more charming look.
The only thing to look out for when ordering these online is their size, and especially their depth as they often can be a bit on the shallower side. These ones are 7 inches deep and should comfortably fit a hanging plant of your choice.
Dimensions: 25.9” (H) x 15.9” (W) x 7” (D)
Material: Metal & coconut fiber.
Self-watering hanging planters
If read this post on balcony privacy plants, you’ll notice that most of them prefer moist but not waterlogged soil. And coincidentally, overwatering is one of the most common mistakes beginners make (as well as seasoned plant owners, we’re all human).
This set of hanging planters is equipped with a self-watering system as well as proper drainage. So they can keep your moisture-loving plants happy without causing root rot.
Dimensions: 10″ (D) x 10″ (W) x 8.2″ (H)
Material: Plastic & iron.
Hanging metal railing planters
These might not do much for balcony privacy on their own. However, some people combine this type of planter with a trellis. So instead of growing a climber plant on a trellis (which can take some time), hang these players on it with overflowing plants (live ivy geranium, lobelia, or petunias).
These planters also ensure minimal contact with metal which ensures your plants don’t get overheated.
Dimensions: 10.5″ (D) x 10″ (W) x 6.5″ (H)
So let’s wrap it up.
Creating privacy on your balcony is essential for a peaceful and secluded outdoor retreat. In a previous post, we discussed the various types of plants that can be used to enhance privacy. Pairing these plants with the right selection of privacy planters can transform your balcony into a lush oasis.
However, it’s also important to remember that achieving balcony privacy is not limited to plants alone. Incorporating other elements, such as balcony railing screens and curtains, can further enhance your privacy and create a cozy atmosphere. And for more inspiration on that, head over to this post on balcony privacy ideas.
So whether you’re seeking solace from prying eyes, creating a green oasis in a concrete jungle, or simply looking to relax and unwind outdoors, there are numerous options available to tailor your balcony privacy to your unique taste.
Happy gardening and enjoy your newfound privacy!